Daniel Ricciardo reckons Max Verstappen’s arrival at Red Bull Racing forced him to up his level, finding even more in himself than he thought there was.
Red Bull changed their driver line-up ahead of this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, demoting Daniil Kvyat to Toro Rosso and handing Verstappen a promotion.
The 18-year-old was immediately on the pace, winning the Spanish Grand Prix, which remains Red Bull’s only win of this season.
Verstappen took the fight to Ricciardo and it is only the Aussie’s recent run of four podium finishes in five grands prix that has seen him outscore the Dutchman.
Speaking about their partnership, which is set to continue next season, Ricciardo admits Verstappen forced him to elevate his game to a new level.
“That was another step up in my personal career and driving,” he said of Verstappen’s promotion.
“I always felt I was at the limit up to that point when Max arrived.
“I thought I was driving at my limit, but I guess there was something a little bit more and I feel we have probably both given each other that.
“I knew how hyped Max was, but I’d never seen his data and didn’t really know what he was bringing to the table.
“But I knew he wasn’t afraid to give it a go, and I saw already from first practice in Barcelona he was on the limit of the car.
“Max has lifted his game even more, and I have, so it’s cool to know we’ve got a little bit more in the tank.
“Without knowing we had it we have found a bit more.”